Singing over riffs

I’m learning Nirvana’s Come As You Are, and trying to sing while playing the riff, which is a new skill for me. I can play the riff pretty well now (though TBH it’s not fully automatic yet).

I’m having some success with slowing things way down in the Moises app, and finding where the vocals line up with notes in the riff, but am looking for tips and other approaches.

How do you learn to sing over a riff?


How do Tom, sounds like you’re going about things correctly technically.

I will have a song on repeat in car and sing along while I’m out and about. In the house too (until I get whinged at :hear_no_evil:)

I find even when I can play a guitar part and sing separately, bringing the two together always brings conflict, eventually I can used chord changes etc as vocal cues but it takes time for it to become ‘one’ in my brain.


I find singing over a riff a lot harder than singing over chords and strumming. Although I find chord based riffs (e.g. strummed chord decorations) a lot easier for singing over than other riffs. Arpeggios are the hardest IMHO.

+1 for listening to the song and repeat and singing along in the car.

I get the guitar parts on full automatic, at full tempo. And get really, really familiar with singing the song. I don’t slow anything down when singing. Learning it slower is useful for getting the guitar bits under the fingers but just throws me off when singing.

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singing over riffs is very hard and it takes a lot of practice singing over chords first. It takes a VERY SOLID feel of the rhythm if you don’t want to end up playing or singing outside the rhythm and timings.

Singing over “Come As You Are” seems like quite the challenge.
I was already glad I could do the “scale like” part AND sing in The Man Who Sold The World :stuck_out_tongue:

I find that if I just mouthe (sp) the words and not sing them at first it helps a lot because if I sing them I am also listening to my pitch as well which is far too much for my tiny brain. So if I can get the timing right whilst doing that, eventually I can then start to sing.

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This challenge came as a shocker to my system. Relative success came when I got to a point of not thinking.

When I tried to reconcile both of the mechanics of what I was doing, I failed miserably.

If I started thinking about what I was doing half way through, I’d crash.

It only worked well when I was completely relaxed and not thinking.

I guess the answer is practice.

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